A search for conserved amino acid residues within the cDNA-derived amino acid sequences of 2-oxoglutarate-coupled dioxygenases revealed the presence of two distinct motifs, spaced 49-71 amino acids apart, toward the C-terminal regions of these proteins. Each of the two common motifs contains an invariant histidine residue at a conserved position. The 2-oxoglutarate-coupled dioxygenases function in diverse processes, including the post-translational hydroxylation of proline and lysine residues in vertebrate collagens and the biosynthesis of microbial cephalosporins, yet they have a common reaction mechanisms, which requires the binding of Fe2+, 2-oxoglutarate, O2 and ascorbate at the catalytic site. The two regions of homology, and specifically the identical histidines, potentially represent functionally important sites related to their catalytic activity. Modification of histidine residues by diethyl pyrocarbonate inactivated vertebrate and algal prolyl 4-hydroxylase and vertebrate lysyl hydroxylase, indicating that histidine residues function in the catalytic site of these 2-oxoglutarate-coupled dioxygenases. Inactivation was prevented by the presence of co-substrates, but not by the peptide substrate. It is proposed that the histidine residues in the conserved motifs may function as Fe(2+)-binding ligands.
- © 1992 The Biochemical Society, London